Friday, June 06, 2008

Investing in Relationships....the long term rewards

I attended the Hertfordshire Institute of Directors 'Hert-y Breakfast' this morning. The guest speaker was former BBC foreign affairs correspondent and independent MP Martin Bell, aka 'The Man in the White Suit'.

The talk was fascinating, with challenging views on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, sleaze in Parliament, the quality of our politicians and electoral system and standards in journalism.

In terms of networking, one thing that Martin said jumped out at me. I've often talked about the dangers of preconceptions at networking events, looking at people and asking yourself how they can help you. To often we write off people without getting to know them, thinking that their business is too small, they are too junior within a company, they wouldn't be able to afford us. Not only is this limited thinking, ignoring who they might know or influence, it is also short term thinking.

Martin Bell's career, and his ability to get the inside track on what is currently happening in the world, has been profoundly influenced by the connections that his has made, and developed over the years.

"The young officers I knew when I reported on the streets of Belfast in the 60s and 70s are now Generals and retired Generals, and they tell me things they wouldn't tell a young reporter.

"The second and third Secretaries I met in Cambodia and Vietnam are now Ambassadors and ex-Ambassadors, and they tell me things they wouldn't tell a young reporter."

Whether you are chasing a story, chasing a career or chasing new business, the relationships that you make, nurture and develop can make a huge difference for you. You can't necessarily measure the strength of your connections based on the immediate benefits you derive from them, in many cases you need to invest in a relationship over a period of years before the return becomes apparent.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Andy.
    Martin Bell is spot on with his assessment of making connections.